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BART and Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) officials held opening ceremonies this morning at the new Berryessa and Milpitas BART stations to mark tomorrow's launch of service on the $2.3 billion extension from Warm Springs.

"This is an event that some in this group have been anticipating for over thirty years," said Cindy Chavez, Chair of the VTA. The extension, which broke ground in 2012, was originally projected to open in 2016. But at this morning's ceremony there was little talk about the delays. "We deserve a moment of respite from all our crises," said San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo. "This is a reminder of what we can accomplish."

Cindy Chavez at the ceremony. Photo: BART/VTA's stream
Cindy Chavez at the ceremony. Photo: BART/VTA's stream
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Three years ago the last extension towards San Jose opened, from Fremont to Warm Springs. This new segment built south from there. “Efforts to bring BART service to Santa Clara County have been decades in the making,” said State Senator Jim Beall, who offered congratulations in a prepared statement. Beall secured billions of New Starts funding as a Metropolitan Transportation Commissioner and through several legislative bills he authored as the Chairman of the Transportation and Housing Committee, said the statement. “The resulting mobility, environmental, and quality of life benefits of this 10-mile extension, and the next 6-mile phase underway, will serve us well into the next century.”

The Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition discussing bike features at the Berryessa Station in 2014. Photo: SVBC
The Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition discussing bike features at the Berryessa Station in 2014. Photo: SVBC
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A one-way Clipper fare from Berryessa Station to Embarcadero in downtown San Francisco will cost $8.15 and take a little over an hour. The two stations will together include over 3,000 parking spaces. There are also standard outdoor bike racks and BikeLink outdoor bike lockers, plus an indoor BikeLink secure bike storage facility available at both stations. "Overall, the City's commitment to bikes is wonderful and I believe they worked really hard on the connections in and around the station," wrote the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition's Shiloh Ballard, in an email to Streetsblog.

That next phase, which will cost an estimated $5.6 billion, includes extensive tunneling, and will take another ten years, will connect BART to downtown San Jose and Santa Clara. Meanwhile, riders wishing to continue south can use VTA’s new Line 500 express bus, which also goes live on June 13, and which will connect the Berryessa Transit Center to San Jose State University, Downtown San Jose, and Diridon Station.

A look at the new BART map. Image: BART
A look at the new BART map. Image: BART
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Meanwhile, BART General Manager Bob Powers used this morning's event to thank BART's operators. “Without their service—they really are heroes—many of our front-line essential workers would not have been able to get to work,” he said. He thanked the construction workers who will build the extension to downtown San Jose under Phase III.

For a view of Milpitas station, check out BART's twitter:

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